Rare Rides: The Awfully Expensive Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet, From 2018
Today’s Rare Ride joins the exclusive club of ultra-expensive V12 SUVs presented in this series. Thus far, the population was one: the Lamborghini LM002.
Today we take a look at a limited-run SUV that Mercedes made as expensive and gauche as humanly possible.
The long-running G-Class remained in its first generation guise between 1979 and 2018. During its incredibly long tenure, Mercedes-Benz turned the SUV from a bare bones military vehicle into a desirable luxury icon of the rich and famous. It was officially off-limits to the North American customer through the early 2000s, at which point the brass at Mercedes-Benz decided they were tired of grey market importers interfering with their profits. In 2002 the G-Wagen was introduced in the U.S., quickly finding its way into the hands of rap stars and other celebrities.
In-house tuner AMG created high-performance versions of the G-Class, adding their touches for the first time in 1993 with the creation of a 6.0-liter V8 version. The first V12 was shoehorned under the square hood in 2002. That year opened the floodgates for more AMG versions, and eventually led to some unique body styles, as well. All were created in the name of exclusive luxury (and ever-higher MSRPs).
First was the G 63 AMG 6×6, which, as the name suggested, was a longer, six-wheel version of the G-Class with portal axles and extreme off-road capability. Mercedes shifted 100 of them (more than planned) between 2013 and 2015. This sales success was followed up with the G 500 4×4². That wide-track truck used the five-door body from the standard G-Class, along with the shorter wheelbase and portal axles from the 6×6 (with the rear set of wheels removed). It was also a sales success, despite not being an AMG model.
Turning up the wick in 2017, Mercedes decided to apply its luxury Maybach name to a new version of the G: the Landaulet. It returned once more to the 6×6 chassis, but this time removed the middle wheels, leaving the rear ones in place. This created a long-wheelbase limousine. The rear convertible portion was grafted from the existing G-Class cabriolet produced circa 2013, and was electrically operated. Under hood, the Landaulet was powered by a 6.0-liter V12 shared with the standard G 63 AMG, as well as the Maybach S600 sedan. Tuned for maximum power and torque, the bi-turbo 12-cylinder produced 621 horses and a whopping 738 lb-ft of torque.
Inside, Mercedes unleashed its designers to apply fine materials and Designo labels wherever possible. A center console was installed behind the front seats, and included television screens and a glass partition — the Landaulet was intended as a chauffeured vehicle. Said glass partition turned opaque at the touch of a button, should one not want to be visible to their chauffeur while the rest of the world could see them in a convertible. The rear thrones were sourced from a Maybach S-Class, and had proper luxury provenance.
Once all the luxury and exclusivity was piled upon the G-Class Landaulet, the price settled to around $1,000,000 USD. A total of 99 examples were made, completed between 2017 and 2018. To date Mercedes has not followed up with a third heavily-modified G-Class, but perhaps they’ve been busy engineering their first-ever new generation G.
Though only 99 were made, it seems a high number are continually for sale across the globe. Never officially imported into America, there is evidence that one might import one if properly funded paperwork is present. This one’s located in Germany, and asks a cool $1.1 million.